Putting out a country album about heartbreak isn’t anything new. Most of singer/songwriter A.P. Dugas’ heroes are legends in the game. Waylon, Willie, Merle. There’re also the storytellers, whose songs tell the woes of the downtrodden. Bob Dylan, Elliott Smith, Possessed by Paul James, and Townes Van Zandt.
Where those traditions merge is in the self-titled debut from The Ganges River Band. It’s less an album than a confession of the sins you commit when your heart has been broken longer than it’s been beating.
The opening track I Am Your Man invites you to sit on the porch and take a pull off the bottle of whiskey that’s being passed around while Six Bottles of Wine is part cautionary tale, part call to arms. Stories of love and loss are conveyed through the lonely strings of guitars and pedal steels on songs like Old Skin, Sweet Ann Marie, and Another Bottle. But tunes like This Here Bottle, Eyes of Fire, and Through Eternity will get you out onto the dance floor, whether there’s one there or not.
The Ganges River Band were named Seattle Weekly’s Best Country Band in 2013 which is surprisingly stiff competition. Though Dugas was born with music in his blood just outside of Houston, TX, he didn’t start playing country music until he, along with bass player Steven Burnett, moved north and became part of the thriving country and roots music scene in Seattle. Time and distance from home led the two, who were both in the guitar-driven rock band The Religion, towards deeper roots; and Ganges was born. They found legendary pedal steel player Country Dave Harmonson and drummer Adrian Van Batenburg (Gems) and a community of musicians, fans, and friends who fuel long nights and shared stories of grief and joy.